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Monday, February 25, 2013

Dead City

As always, if you want to give me feedback, please e-mail me at  This is a beginning draft of this story.  I encourage constructive criticism only and doing so in a personal message would be best.  I appreciate you reading and giving tips on how to improve this story and my writing.  My hope is to one day become a published writer. 
PS: This is not a zombie story!!!

Dead City
(this is my original work and any attempt to reprint or copy needs my written permission)

“No tomorrow.  I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad.  The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.  I find it hard to tell you cause I find it hard to take.  When people run in circles it’s a very very mad world.”  This was my new soundtrack to life.  Mad world.  Two words that reflected my new reality so very poignantly.  I don’t need any other description to you just: mad world.

            I have always been a huge fan of apocalyptic fiction.  I’ve read Max Brook’s zombie fiction as well as The Road, The Stand, and Zone One.  A zombie apocalypse would have been exciting.  A story of cannibalism by live  would be way more interesting than what actually happened.  I really thought I would have been prepared for anything except for this.  There was no book on earth that could have prepared me for this, the reality.  Strange how reality is a lot stranger than fiction.  The end of the world?  This is it!  No fucking way!  My brain was still registering everything that had happened in only a couple of very long, drawn out weeks.

            What’s funny is that even my dreams could not have prepared me for what actually transpired.  I used to have dreams of fires and floods, earthquakes and tornadoes; each one resulting in traumatic pandemonium and unprecedented heartache.  In each dream, I was either alone or with one surviving family member.  We always united in search of our other lost family, knowing deep down that the others were dead.  In my dreams, I heard screams and whales.  I saw miles and miles of bulletin boards stretched out with people’s faces and names, numbers, places.  People scrambling to find lost loved ones and best friends.  Each person knowing what I knew, that whoever they were searching for was dead.  Dead like the brown leaves in late November.  Dead like a black, decaying toenail.  Dead as in absent from the role call of life.

            The first day, the day when things started going awry is a day that will be etched into my memory forever.  A day just like 9/11.  I remember exactly where and what I was doing on that day too.  On September, 11th, 2001, I was a sophomore in college.  I was coming back from taking a shower, and the cleaning woman for my residence hall, with the same (female) version of my name, Frankie, told me that a plane had crashed into some tower.  At first, I thought she was talking about some television show or a dream that she had.  Frankie and I often had very animated conversations in the hallway of the dorm. 

            However, this time I could see the panic in her eyes and hear the fear in her voice.  What she was saying didn’t make any sense.  I went into my room, closed the door, got dressed and came back out where Frankie still stood in the hallway, like she was waiting to guide me to knowledge.  She took my arm and led me into the rec room with the lone television on our floor.  I saw other students glued to the TV set and gathered around on couches hugging their knees and each other for comfort.  It was a blue sky Tuesday fall morning and usually the television was off and students were lazily lolling out the door to class.

            Today was different.  I watched, horrified, transfixed, as the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  I thought I was watching a movie.  It didn’t seem real.  Worst of all is that I had to rush out the door to get to my meeting with my History Professor.  I was meeting to discuss my thesis.  However, that meeting like all of my classes and activities for the day would be cancelled. 

When I knocked on my professor’s door, I saw a body hunched over a desk, sobbing.  I wrote a note on her door, and went to the dining hall to eat.  It was emptier than usual.  I didn’t see any friends which was fine and good because I wanted to eat in silence.  In fact, I spent the whole rest of the day in silent meditation.  That’s when I heard screams coming from the entrance to the dining hall.  “The second one fell.    They got the second tower too.  And the Pentagon is under attack!”  The world was in pandemonium.  I decided to split and return to my dorm room.  I wanted to spend the day in sequestered silence, like a monk high in the mountains.  I thought it was the end of the world.

            The first day of my new life was just like this.  The first day of the end was etched on my memory like a branded cow.  It really was a day like any other.  A day full of promise and hope.  It was a blistery winter day.  All the trees were naked and exposed to the elements.  The sky was a sheet metal shade of grey.  I had to hold my scarf to my chest to keep it from blowing away. 

            I didn’t think it strange to find my apartment empty, as it was almost lunchtime.  People were at work, doing laundry, watching soaps, maybe cooking soups over their stoves.  I walked out onto Bedford and didn’t notice that there were no cars or people.  I usually was pretty oblivious to what was happening around me.  As a New Yorker, you know to keep one eye in front of you and one eye roaming to your left and right.  However, when it’s cold and you need orange juice and bread, you just plug in your Ipod and keep your eyes straight ahead.  So, no nothing seemed strange.  That is, not until I got to Flatbush Avenue, which was usually bustling with activity this time of day.

            As I turned a corner and hit Flatbush Avenue, that’s when I first noticed IT.  The ‘change’.  It was mid-day and most storefronts had their metal gates down.  It looked like a Sunday morning.  Flatbush Avenue with its wig  shops, beauty salons, Chinese restaurants, and dollar value stores was empty.  Not a soul, not a peep.  I could hear the wind in the trees and a few dogs barking in the distance but that’s all.

            Was I dreaming?  Had there been a terrorist attack?  A natural disaster?  Nothing else seemed amiss.  There was just an absence of people and sound.  It reminded me of an exhibit I saw once at a museum in Massachusetts where vintage carnival equipment was set up in a large room.  A few lights went on and off but there was little movement and an absence of sound.  The laughter and merriment that you associate with a  carnival were stripped from the room.  It was eerie just like the moment I was experiencing.  I felt like I had gone deaf but I knew my ears were working just fine.  Did I step into some alternate reality?

            It was at that moment that I decided to go into one of the only open storefronts, a Dunkin’ Donuts.  24 hours.  At going in, I would regret opening that door the minute I entered the warmth and silence of my usual haven for reasonably priced coffee and donuts.  The stench was unbearable.  Have you ever had a dead mouse in your apartment?   It smells like dead leaves and rotting vegetables.  The stench is unforgettable.  Well, almost immediately I felt like vomiting.  I covered my entire mouth and nose with my scarf.  But even then, that particular smell of death still permeated my lungs.  Death and donuts.  I saw one of the cashier’s bodies strewn across the counter still clutching a now gone cold cup of coffee.  Another cashier was lying on the floor under the donut display where some Boston Creams were blocking a view of her disfigured and rotting face. 

            I saw other bodies too.  A West Indian woman clutching a toddler to her breast.  A little girl not past the age of two or three.  The woman had long, grey and brown dreadlocks which covered most of her face.  I, however, could see the dried blood seeping from her mouth.  The little girl had blood all over her dress.  Her tiny hand was clutching a chocolate munchkin in a napkin.  I turned away in horror.  Then I noticed an elderly Chinese man seated in a chair, slumped over a table.  His hot beverage spilled and sticky all over the tiled floor.  There was a pool of blood under his face that mixed in with whatever he had been drinking. 

            What had happened here?  Murder?  Carbon Monoxide poisoning?  This Dunkin Donuts had a Grade Pending after all.  I ran out of the Dunkin Donuts and screamed a blood curdling horror movie scream.  Nothing.  No one came running.  No undead came shuffling down the street.  Whatever had happened had possibly involved the entire neighborhood, the entirety of New York City.  Maybe even the whole nation, the whole world.  I then realized that I couldn’t make any calls because I had left my cell phone to charge at home.  A common occurrence when I ran out quickly to pick up a few things at the grocery store.  Thank goodness for my photographic memory.  So, I went back into the Dunkin Donuts and noticed the Iphone on the floor right next to the dreadlocked woman.  I picked it up.

            I went back outside and did what anyone living in the 21st century would do.  I tried to call my girlfriend, Marita.  I kept getting a fast paced beep. Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  I tried to call her again.  Nothing.  All the lines must be tied up, that or dare I say it, dead.  I tried calling 911.  A nasalized voice said ‘I’m sorry, but the party you’re trying to reach is unavailable.’  Unavailable?  How could the NYPD be ‘unavailable’?  What exactly was going on?

            I walked up and down Flatbush Avenue.  Either stores had their grey metal gates up or the ones that were open had the same internal organs as the Dunkin Donuts.  I would look in the glass window and see bodies on the floor, on the register, strewn out over clothing racks, hands outstretched like mannequins of the macabre. 

            It was the one time in my life, being a New Yorker that I longed for company.  I wanted to hear a voice or a laugh.  To breathe in cigarette smoke or car exhaust would mean an explanation.  Seeing a vagrant or widowed housewife would mean I could understand.  It was like my senses were handicapped, AWOL. 

            I tried calling a slue of phone numbers.  All of them got the same response.  Everyone I knew was quite possibly dead.  Their fate being similar to every corpse I had already seen.  Why weren’t there any bodies laying in the street?  Was everyone waiting for death silently in the warmth of modernity?  That’s when I saw it.  A pillar of smoke and flames.  There was a massive pile-up of cars down by Caton Avenue, by the Caton Market.  When it happened, it must have blocked off all traffic.  Semi-trucks and mini vans, livery cabs and sedans, vans and city buses.  There were about fifty or sixty vehicles and more stretched out past my field of vision.  I didn’t have to go any closer to see that each driver was dead and rotting like the bodies I first saw in Dunkin Donuts.

            Whatever traffic there had been on either side of Flatbush must have created one giant human puzzle of carnage.  A barrier to any cars and buses getting through to the part of Flatbush I had been walking down.  And in this reality, no bodies came walking out of the flames.  Everyone was dead as reality.  Nothing supernatural about burning flesh and bloodied corpses. 
At least I wouldn’t have to worry about fending off swarms of mobs, dead or undead.  I could still waltz into the grocery and get needed supplies.  Well, first thing on my list would be a cloth mask.  A few dozen packs of them.  Maybe an air freshener or two to stick on the inside of my scarf.  Apple Cinnamon or Hawaiian Breeze?  Funny how I still had these choices of an American consumer.  Yet all of the people coming up with the ideas for flavors and advertising were probably now deceased.  Their products would live on with the memory of the minds that came up with their concepts at a board meeting.
            What would I do now?  Well I guess I had an eternity to figure that out.  Maybe I’d just find a penthouse overlooking Central Park, one devoid of bodies.  Could I look for other people like me?  Did I want to find anyone?  Yes, I think so.  Today Brooklyn.  Tomorrow Manhattan.  Then Queens, the Bronx.  Staten Island if I could get to it at all.  The rest of Long Island.  Rochester, Albany, Schenectady, Buffalo.  Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont.  South America, Mexico, Alaska.  I’d go anywhere my feet or a vehicle could take me. The world was now at my fingertips. 

            Just put in my Ipod headphones.  Continue to walk on and explore my new world.  That’s what I would do.  “I know you didn’t realize that the city was gone.  You thought there would be advertisements to give you something to go on.  And so we search the sky for any flashing signs.  We’ve gone too far beyond the borders, it’s just you and I.  And if this is the end, best place I’ve ever been.  It feels so good to just get lost sometimes.  Only the horses.”  Yes, indeed, now it’s only just me and the horses. 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Epidsodes from My Unconventional Life

I used to own this t-shirt.  It says 'Get me out of my- Missouri.  The 'show me' state'. 

So despite feeling a little lost these days, as I'm not on track with any of my goals in life, I do have to say that I'm glad to be living in NYC.  I have ALWAYS wanted to live in New York.  To me, living in NYC meant unequivocal success and triumph.  Living in NY meant you had made it in the world, well, at least you were a step up from everyone else in America.

See, I grew up in suburbia.  I went to a very white, WASPY preparatory school, one of 'the best' in the country.  Really, my high school has a notorious reputation for churning out politicians, poets, playwrights, artists and leaders of society.  However, never wanting to subscribe to the young Republicans, I was always left out in the cold.  I never liked wearing ties and sports coats (our strict dress code).  I was not part of a blue blood family and I did not belong to a country club.  That and my family have a multi-million dollar house in Ladue (La-doo).  This was the name of the suburb my school was in.  And yes, it is actually just as pretentious as it sounds.  Some days, I went to school and I felt like I was going to throw up or run away to the desert.  And that feeling never went away for the thirteen years I went to that school.  I just never felt that I fit in.  I was Jewish and I did not care to become 'part of society'.

Funny, however, that my mother always dreamed of not only 'keeping up with the Jonses' but in being the Jonses.  She wanted to live in Ladue with an estate on the country club grounds (despite most of the people who lived there being anti-Semitic and racist).  She made me do cotillion and take dance/social etiquette lessons to train me.  I thought it creepy to go to a country club where stuffed animal's heads were on each wall, where I had to converse with peers who I abhorred and resented (the feelings were mutual).  When I told her I wanted to quit, just before high school where we would have to wear a tux and learn the place settings, I told her I wanted absolutely no interest in 'being part of society', at least the society of white gloves and black tie.  I never wanted to go to a debutante ball, let alone marry an actual debutante (even if they did let Jews attend).  What I wanted was to live in a society where I defined what success and well being were. 

My idea of success and living life was not the same as my peers.  I never cared about money or popularity as a means to life.  I also never saw it vital to my being to drink massive amounts of alcohol on weekends or play sports.  My school was big on both of these.  Every student HAD to play a sport for two seasons, and I chose PE.  I did not like team sports, though I could have easily done track or soccer.  I just didn't care.  Also, being part of the jock culture meant that you went to a lot of parties (just like in every John Hughes film).  Every weekend, some guy or girl would have a party at his/her house and yes, most often the parents were home.  They preferred to have their precious babies and their friends drinking under their own roof.  Sometimes, and I kid you not, the parents would pay off local cops to circle around their street so that if other police officers showed up, it wouldn't put a dampening spirit on the party.  If the parents weren't home, and off on a cruise in the Caribbean or skiing in Europe, then an older 'responsible' sibling was left in charge.  However, that sibling was usually busy trying to get into the pants of some high school hotty, that or getting high in the basement (or both).

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not bitter or regretful about what I did or didn't do in high school.  I'm really glad I never ran with the popular crowd.  Anyway, most of them are either fat or gay (or both).  Believe me, my school had a raging case of homophobia but what's more is that many of the football and basketball jocks were gay and used their gay bashing as a mask.  I still remember when a senior came out in the literary magazine when I was a freshman.  I also remember him being tossed into lockers and called 'fag'.  I don't remember any teachers or staff batting an eyelash.  Or anyone doing anything when the word 'nigger' was written on a Jet magazine in the library.  At least there was no public forum or assembly to address the topic (not that I remember anyway).

What I do remember, however, was that two of my classmates called people out on their homophobia.  One girl, Katie wrote an article in the paper about the use of the words like 'fag' and 'gay'.  Another girl, Susan made a speech about it in assembly.  That made some people think, but most of the student population didn't care.  And believe me, I also had friends who called others out on their racism too.  Though, bigotry was running in the water, mostly due to naivety and blissful ignorance.  I asked a friend of mine once what her views on homosexuality were.  She just said 'My religion doesn't agree that it's okay.'  When I repeated to her, 'What do YOU think'.  She just repeated what her religion and parents thought.  I knew how lame that was.  I knew that most of the students at my school had little capacity for humanitarianism and culture.  Yes, they were book smart but being asked to think outside of their box, confused and scared many. 

See, most of the kids I went to school with believed things only because their peers believed them or their parents told them to think those things.  We had very few kids who could actually think for themselves.  That's why I hung out with the uncool, artsy, theater kids.   The kids who everyone thought were all gay or vampires, or both.   The kids who chose to create art over throwing a football.  The kids who were intellectual and kept a black book filled with poetry and art.  Other people sneered at our group and made fun of us.  I purposefully did not give two shits.  At one point, the principal (who was a major dickhead) locked the female bathroom in the area my friends hung out in because there was a 'rumor' that lesbian sex was going on in there.  However, the heterosexual oral sex that was going on in the chapel (where we had secular assembly) was never challenged.  I saw through all of it!

I was even asked, at one point, by a peer to stop hanging out with certain people to increase my coolness status.  Of course I refused.  No one told me who my friends were and none of the bullying and taunting could stop me from being myself.  I did what I did; I lived my life the way I wanted to and could care less what others said or thought.  In fact, a lot of kids, who I later became friends with, were at first scared of me.  That's because in ninth grade I pretended to be a vampire and actually did things like cut myself with a protractor during study hall to keep people away.  My shield was my weirdness because since I was a fish out of water, why not accentuate it and play the part everyone expected?  It's funny too, because a lot of people thought I did drugs (heroine chic), had multiple piercings and tattoos, and went to bondage clubs and raves on the weekend.  None of those things were true.  But, I let people make up their own stories because it was easier that way. 

I was very well aware of the stratification of popularity and the rules my peers abided by.  I took a shit all over those very same rules.  I have a feeling that a lot of my teachers like me purely because I was a rogue, a rebel.  I raged against the night.  We had a strict dress code, but I chose to get clothes from Salvation Army and Goodwill rather than Brooks Brothers and J. Crew.  What's funny is that now I love J. Crew and Brooks Brothers and abhor Goodwill.  But, seriously, I had to wear collared shirts, okay I would wear snapping cowboy shirts and work shirts with name tags of names like Biff and Bubba.  I also began dying my hair; My hair has been every single shade in the rainbow.  By senior year, I had bleach blond hair and would spike it with glue (yes glue).  I rebelled full throttle.  I made people accept me because they knew that I saw through all the bullshit.  And my plan always was to get the hell outta dodge (Missouri) and get my ass to New York, where I truly belong. 

I've always had a good bullshit detector and have always had little tolerance for people being fake and flaky.  I've always told people, what you see is what you get and if you don't like it, then fuck off.  That's why I love New York.  You can run naked down the street here and no one cares (no, I haven't done that).  There's the annual Santa Con where people dress up in Santa suits and go from bar to pub until you see thousands of Santa's puking in alleyways.  Of course, New York has fashion week twice a year, in September and February.  So that brings out the eccentric and bizarre as well.  Of course there's Halloween and New Year's where all the freaks come out at night.  New York is live and let live.  You can be anybody here.  And, if you're not anybody, you can reinvent yourself again and again and again.  However, New York is very critical about people's persona, in that you have to contain a lot of talent and passion to impress anyone.  Egos will be checked at the door.  New York is unforgiving in first impressions which is why I always dress for a part when I walk out the door.

So yes, New York is not judgemental.  At the same time, though, you never know who you will meet and so you have to expect anything.  You don't want to walk around in sweats or pajama pants, not event when doing errands.  Something that I learned very quickly being out of the Midwest.  Though people have a blase attitude about just about everything, you are being watched and judged here.  The city that never sleeps have eyes out everywhere.  And  you know what, I like that.  On one hand you can be anything and anyone, but at the same time there is no tolerance for mediocre.  Living in New York, you have to aspire for greatness and shoot for the stars.  Otherwise, why move here?  Go to some more laid back place like Colorado or Oregon.  New York is NOT for the faint of heart, and that's why I love this city.  I feel like it truly is MY city.  And I'm a New Yorker!  Thank goodness!

 Reinvented and Renewed,


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ahhh, Zombies!!


“I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.”

"I've gotten letters, but mostly from Bible-belt types who say, you must be Satan! They come right out and call me Satan and hope that I'm damned to hell.”

"I always thought of the zombies as being about revolution, one generation consuming the next."  -George A. Romero (Father of the modern zombie)
For some reason, America, and arguably much of Western culture has become obsessed with zombies.  They are everywhere nowadays, in books, movies, video games, apps, tv shows, and on countless articles of apparel and accessories.  There are zombies everywhere: zombie pub crawls, zombie runs, zombie conventions, zombie proms, zombie burlesque, and even real zombie clubs (and this is worldwide, not just within the good ole US of A).  I mean, I even bought an Obama vs. Zombies t-shirt off of (that I ended up selling on Ebay).  Why?  I'll get to that in a bit.  I, however, am just as obsessed as anyone else.  Okay, I admit I'm more obsessed than most people.  I constantly think about where I would go and what I would bring in the event of a zombie pandemic.  I must say, though, that I've always been obsessed with the notion of a hoard of undead.  And I don't discriminate; I am fascinated by both zombies and vampires (However the former takes up most of my time).  

I have read Max Brook's books World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide.  I have watched Zombieland, 28 Days Later, 28 Months Later, Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead , Dawn of the Dead (both versions), Return of the Living Dead and countless other lesser known, lower budget zombie flicks (including Trauma's own Redneck Zombies).  I've seen I Walked with a Zombie from the 1940's, though that is more about voodoo zombies than what we understand as 'zombies'.  For our modern understanding of the zombie we have, of course, George A. Romero of the 'Living Dead' franchise to thank and also Michael Jackson for his Thriller video in 1983.  Without them, zombies wouldn't have eaten their way so pervasively into pop culture.  

I just got finished reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies by Matt Mogk.  By the way, Mogk is founder and head of the Zombie Research Society (ZRS) which you can join and start chapters of. He makes a good point, though, that we need to be discussing issues related to a zombie catastrophe now because when it happens, it will be too late.  

To say I'm impressed with the book is an understatement.  When my wife came into the room while I was reading it, and wanted me to either a) burn it or b) read it in my closet so it would be out of sight.  I, however, told her that the book was non-fiction and was unlike the gore I usually go for.  She just was 'glad it wasn't about people eating each other's guts' is all she commented.  I merited my reading the book by telling her that there was a lot of science and sociology in the book, which is true.  

By the way,  I got rid of the Obama vs. Zombies t-shirt.  I would have barred  from EVER wearing it around my apartment.  In fact, I even had to get both my copies of Max Brook's books out of the apartment for fear she'd throw them in the garbage can.  She REALLY hates and despises my obsession with zombies.  However, back to Mogk's book.  It's worth a read for any zombie enthusiast whether you're a novice or expert zombie connoisseur. 

I don't consider myself an expert at all

In a world between vampires and zombies, who would win?  It's obvious!  

Mogk's book, unlike other zombie guides, is very realistic.  For once, I actually stop to think that I'd be screwed in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  He actually asks some tough questions and demands you to ask yourself what you would do, as a survivalist.  Yea, I'd be screwed.  Water is the most important item to have?  I might have to eat rats and squirrels?  I would have to defend myself from human vandals and thieves along with the zombies?  Damn, I'm screwed!  I, however, like this book because it isn't some wishy-washy oh zombies will come and eat you.  It examines our culture's fascination with zombies and explores the plausibility of a zombie virus and what its ensuing breakdown of society would mean for us, as human beings.  

First of all, it is noble that Mogk tackles the question of our modern concept of zombie.  Many people conflate the Voodoo zombie with our current notion.  I agree with Mogk in that the two couldn't be more different than night and day.  The Voodoo zombie a person who was given drugs and herbs to fade away, nearly die, go into a coma-like state, and then wake up to be controlled by said necromancer/sorcerer.  In Haiti, people really do fear witch doctors who will steal their hair or a valuable possession in order to gain control over that person's mind and body.  I took a class on Voodoo in college along with other Caribbean religions, and Voodoo is very scary, though not as much as Santeria. 

 Oh and also, Voodoo has NOTHING at all to do with Voodoo dolls.  That's also more of an invention of our Western culture's notion of the Haitian religion.  In a nutshell, Voodoo is a mixture of African tribal religious customs with Catholicism.  In Voodoo, the gods are called loi and have counterparts with Madonna and other Saints (St. Patrick, etc).  Within the ritual, people will take on the persona of the loi and offer him/her specific food and light specific colored candles (each that correspond to that specific loi).  

Back to zombies.  So, frighteningly, there are many things in modern human biology that could result in a zombie apocalypse.  In Mock's book he lists many things: prions and other bacteria/viruses.  A prion, by the way is a protein that mutates and attacks a human's brain very aggressively.  Certain prions can also get transmitted through bodily fluids and with mutation possibility could spell danger.  Scared?  Mock also talks about the possibility of the flu mutating with rabies (something I scare my wife with all the time and am banned from talking about in our household).  Seriously though, if the flu mutate together with rabies, then we'd all be royally fucked.  

What I also like about this book is the fact that, throughout, I ask myself, literally, what I would do?  Would I leave my family behind?  If I leave the city with a person/people, then who?  Who would I trust?  How would I get my medication?  What happens when cell phones, computers, and other technological advances become obsolete?  What will I do without my Iphone and its apps?  God, help me!  What happens if my blood sugar goes low while I'm being stalked by the walking dead?  Or would I just stay locked in my apartment in Brooklyn?  Cities are the WORST place to be, but maybe there's a possibility to survive especially if the majority of people book it out of dodge.

I know where I'd go.  I would try to get to either New Mexico, Wyoming, or an island off of Washington (state), in that order.  New Mexico is hot, but it is very dry and there are very isolated and secluded areas where there is very little human activity.  Wyoming for the same reason minus the weather.  Both NM and WY have very different climates from each other but they are not as dense population wise and have mountains (which form nice natural barriers against the swarming undead).  Then an island off of Washington because though cold and rainy, an island would be ideal.  Unless, that is, that zombies can walk on the bottom of the ocean (as they can in World War Z). 

I also get to thinking about what kind of zombie I would prefer in my version of Z-day.  Though I know I wouldn't have a choice.  I think I would want the dead to stay dead, meaning that cemeteries are clear of any walking corpses, unlike Night of the Living Dead.  I would prefer a version similar to Zombieland, where the people are still 'alive'.  They are shells of themselves in the sense that they are taken over by the deadly virus/disease, but I prefer that to actually  being dead and reanimated.  The latter REALLY creeps me out.  Because then, if the dead actually do rise, as in graveyard zombies, then it would be an uncontrollable situation.  If people just get sick and turn rabid, though nightmarish is not as hellish as the dead rising from their coffins.  

I literally would not go into graveyards when I was younger (unless I was at a funeral) because I would get scared a hand, from a grave, would grab my foot.   No joke.  I was scared to go into graveyards because of zombies.  I had (and still have) zombie phobia but that also feeds into my obsession and fascination.  If the dead were to walk (in whatever sense) then I'd sure as hell not want to become one of them.  Unlike George Romero who is quoted as saying that he'd love to wake up and have a swarm of zombies in his living room because then he'd become 'one of them', a zombie, I would run for my life.  

By the way, fear of zombies is known as kinemortophobia; it's a real definition!  Sanguivoriphobia is fear of vampires.  

Interestingly, I would rather want to become a vampire.  And I'm also afraid of vampires, but I have more of an interest in living forever, though pale, with my body intact.  And yes, I'd drink blood of young virgins but at least I'd get to be a cool vampire like those in Anne Rice and Stephanie Myers books.  Right?  Not a gross one like Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Actually, I was surprised to find out that the vampire and zombie are very closely connected.  Matt Mogk opens his book by discussing this phenomenon.  George A. Romero got the idea for his movies from the 1953 I Am Legend book by Richard Matheson.  Matheson even thought Romero was ripping off his own idea.  The modern zombie as we know it really didn't exist before the 1968 Night of the Living Dead.  

I, for one, am excited to see what comes out in literature and film in the upcoming months and years.  I know there's a film version of Brook's World War Z but from the previews, it doesn't mesh well with how I imagined the book.  There's a great scene in the book, one of my favorites, actually, where a swarm of zombies comes down I-80 through Nebraska (near Lincoln), right  along a stretch of rode I've been on.  So I can visualize the scene in my head of the piled up cars and running, frightened people (many of whom are probably very overweight).  

I just hope that if Z-Day does come, then I'll not be in NYC at all.  Or any city for that matter.  Hopefully, I'll have some warning dreams ahead of time.  And yes, I have had dreams of that nature, about zombies (also vampires).  I've also dreamt about floods and fires.  Sometimes I'm wandering alone, sometimes I'm with a family member (realizing that all my other family is deceased).  So, if I have to go it alone, I think psychically I'm ready though psychologically I'm not at all.  

I, however am the type of person who argues with people over the best type of weapon: machete and the best place to seek shelter (urban): drug store with sliding/locking gate and only a small handful of other doors or (suburban/rural): two to three story house with attic and accessible roof.  If in a house, though, I'd prefer to have the foldable/collapsible armor that many Israelis have over their windows.  Am I crazy to even be considering this stuff?  I'm also the type of person to survey places when I'm there.  'Oh no, too many stairs'.  'Oh those stairs could be broken away easily and the elevators suspended.  There's some food on the third floor.  Oh but too many people would swarm here.'  Yes, things like that run through my head.

So I know I'm DEFINITELY not ready for Z-Day today or tomorrow.  But with some time, I'll continue to hone my survival skills and be ready.  If not for Z-Day then whatever comes our way.  I  know one thing is for sure.  I will learn how to ride a bike, and I will bike my way out of the city as if my life depended on it (and it might).  

Okay, now with these warm fuzzy thoughts running through my head, I'm gonna get some shuteye and hope I don't wake up to a street filled with the frothing, decaying corpses of people who used to be my NY neighbors. 

Good night!  Sleep tight!

Kinemortophobically yours,


*By the way, if you like zombies, I have a short story on zombies in a post called 'Zombie Jesus'.  Check it out!